Tag Archives: Venice


img_0698a1Welcome to my blog!

I am a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

What a year it’s been! My most recent posts include my September trip to Germany for my assignment on next year’s 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation.  Cities and towns across Germany will be holding celebrations and events.  I visited Wittenberg, Halle, Leipzig, Erfurt, Schmalkalden, Eisenach, Eisleben and Mansfeld.

Great reflection, Wittenberg Market Square

In Wittenberg, Germany. Great reflection off sphere in Market Square.

Before that are blog posts from my October/November trip to China, including Shanghai, Wenzhou and Guilin.  Before that, a link to my latest published stories from last year’s trip to Krakow, Poland, and my posts from my June trip to Yosemite National Park, the High Sierras and Mammoth Lakes, California.  Also, my late April and early May trip to Romania where I still have some relatives from my mother’s side.  Before that are my posts from my early April trip to Venice, my favorite city in the world!

Where am I going next?  Not sure yet, but I will find it exciting!


Richard in China, near Guilin’s twin pagodas.

(Header image is my photo from St. Barth, view from the Colombier Lookout.)


My novel of international intrigue, Warming Up to Murder, is available as an ebook, and in Kindle and Nook formats.  It’s about a TV reporter who finds himself chasing the “big story” spanning two continents.  See the links below.



Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Venice’s Church of La Pieta


Orchestra Virtuosi Italiani. Photo by Richard Varr

Orchestra Virtuosi Italiani. Photo by Richard Varr

I’ve seen many classical concerts throughout Europe – small string ensembles furiously bowing Baroque-era selections from the classics of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Bach and Telemann, to name a few.  Performed in 17th and 18th century churches along medieval streets and squares, I imagine I’m actually listening to the famous composers themselves.

Richard with Antonio Aiello.

Richard with Antonio Aiello.

During my April trip to Venice, however, there was something particularly special about listening to a group of virtuoso violinists playing Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the church of La Pieta — even with scaffolding all around us — where the composer was music director from 1703 until 1740.  “When I was a child, I always hoped to play in this church,” says violinist Antonio Aiello, the soloist playing this night.  “I like Vivaldi and Bach, and this is a dream for me to play every week here as a soloist or with my orchestra.”

Inside the church of La Pieta with Tiepolo fresco above. Photo by Richard Varr

Inside the church of La Pieta with Tiepolo fresco above. Photo by Richard Varr

Construction began in 1745 on the current church building on the same site, situated on Venice’s most popular promenade, the waterside Riva degli Schiavoni off the pale green-tinted lagoon.   Built just a few years after Vivaldi’s death in 1741, he never saw the new building with Giambattista Tiepolo’s ceiling fresco, Triumph of Faith, painted in 1755.  “When I enter the church and see the Tiepolo fresco above and the balcony where Vivaldi was a conductor, I watch the balcony when I play and imagine Vivaldi is watching,” continues Aiello.   “When I play as a soloist, I become very emotional.”


VIDEO:  The following are two video clips of this fabulous concert!